From Hobby to Career: How Much Can You Make as a Pro Gamer?

From Hobby to Career: How Much Can You Make as a Pro Gamer?

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Recent developments in the video gaming industry prove that it’s a viable career, one that involves quite a handsome amount of remunerations. Gaming has become a lucrative profession. However, as more and more people continue to opt for gaming as a career, the competition is getting amped up.

Because of this competition and the relative newness of the profession, people often ask how much do pro gamers make? The answer varies depending on the level of expertise. An average pro gamer can go as high as $60K a year. But, if you are really really pro, you can make millions (no joke!) per year along with other benefits such as sponsorships, marketing, prizes, free travel arrangement, and much more.

If you want to pursue this career path, you need to remember that only passion isn’t enough. You will have to improve your gaming skills as well.

eSports Salaries – A Quick Overview

Pays in the esports industry are rising. According to, expect an approximate salary of $1000 to $5000 a month in professional gaming. The only requirement is that you should be good enough to create an official team. That means a professional gamer earns around $12K to $60K a year. The $60K salary is already what a blue-collar job pays in the US per year. Therefore, if you are good at gaming, you can take up a career in esports. 

According to Comparably, the salary of pro gamers in the USA range from $19,910 to $180,200. The average salary turns out to be $44,680. They also estimate that the middle 50% of the pro gamers make approximately $28,400, while the top 75% make $187,200. Again, this salary estimation differs from state to state. For instance, pro gamers in Denver make the most – averaging $64,168. 

However, it’s still a rough estimate of how much professional gamers can earn. Every official eSports tournament pays gamers differently. For instance, you cannot expect a pro CS: GO player to make as much amount as a professional League of Legends player. The same holds true for other eSports games like DOTA2, Fortnite, Overwatch, and PUBG. 

One eSports game that typically pays such high salaries to its top players is DOTA2. Its highest-paid esports players get as much as $35K a month, according to AFKGaming. This is a massive $420K salary per year. But, only superstars make this much amount, and there are only a few of them in the world. Beginners have to start with anywhere from $2K to $5K per month. 

How do professional gamers earn money?

eSports Gaming Tourney


Video game streaming is a major income source for many pro gamers. They are earning an extra up to 7K USD a month just by live-streaming their games. Some go a different route and offer commentary on how they played, or love to play with different characters. Still, others create online gaming tutorials, tips, and tricks to help newbies master their games.

For example, some of them stream play agario unblocked on youtube or twitch. Agario unblocked private server is a very popular browser game

By simply handling their social media presence, pro gamers earn huge sums. Live video streaming also improves their reputation online as more people see how they play different games.

With that many income streams, it becomes quite apparent that professional video gaming has turned into a real sports career. Like any other professional field, if you become an expert gamer, you can earn a lot in this profession in a very short time.


Many companies around the world love to sponsor professional video gamers. Various companies that manufacture products like energy drinks, digital gadgets, and computer accessories normally love to pay a handsome amount as sponsorship. As per the sponsorship agreement, gamers are then required to use and promote their products whenever they are participating in a game or out in the public on a regular day.

This is why whenever you see a player in the field, they have a shirt/jacket full of different logos. Besides regular salaries, these sponsors give cash bonuses and all other types of rewards for their expenses during the tournament. They also offer other forms of freebies such as free vacations to exotic locations, free supplies, and whatnot. That’s why they require strong visibility of their brand from the player whenever they are in the public eye.

Regular Salaries

Besides the prize money, many professional teams get a monthly stipend. Several companies provide this opportunity. And the best thing is, over the years, the regular salary has been on the rise. Based on an survey, professionals get between 1000 to 5000 USD a month as a fixed salary. Better companies pay even better packages – as high as $15000. This is apart from the regular prize money they can get by winning games or getting sponsors.

Regular salary depends on several different factors. For instance, a gamer must have an excellent track record of winning games. The more wins they have under their belt, the better value they can get. What’s more, professional tournament players usually have a very high social fan following, making them brand ambassadors of their companies. This means, they can get better sponsors, hence more money starts flowing towards them.


After every win, pro gamers get some form of a bonus from their company or sponsors. In case their team wins, they get a special mention in online forums, gaming communities, and digital video gaming channels. It creates extra mileage for the company they represent. Professional gamers can get bonuses as high as 20K USD per single tournament.

Prize Money

Their primary income source is, of course, prize money. Top prizes in the US alone can reach up to $0.2M for a single game in the tournament. In comparison, several international competitions offer over a million dollars for a single win. This amount is divided equally among the members of the winning team.

A professional player must win at least one major event in order to be called a pro gamer.

The difference in eSports Prize Money Pools 

The amount of money a professional video gamer can make depends on the prize pool of the tournament. As we mentioned previously, different video games pay their athletes differently. In case a game has a big eSports reputation and fan following, expect a massive prize pool. 

For example, back in the 2019 Fortnite World Cup, winners of various tournaments earned a whopping $30 million in prize money. Kyle Giersdorf, one of the winners, won $3 million after defeating 99 other players. Not a bad amount for playing video games, right? However, don’t expect winners of other video game tournaments to earn the same. 

Fortnite is another very popular video game. But, the prize pool in Fortnite falls behind DO

TA 2. The game’s annual international tournament keeps on breaking prize pool rewards. In 2021, the estimated prize money pool for various tournaments reached a massive $47.76 million. This also explains why most of the highest-paid pro players are DOTA 2 players. Others don’t even come close. 

What Are The Important Skills That You Should Have To Get A High Salary?

eSports Career

Becoming a pro gamer is no easy feat. You need to spend hours pushing through different challenges a game throws at you. Below are the top skills that are considered a must-have for any professional gamer. If you want to be one of them, develop the ones you are lacking.


While solo gaming is fun in its own right, professionals prefer teamwork. They are always playing with real people against real opponents. If you are on top of your game, you can play on any team. This is because everyone knows only a strong team wins the competition. As a team player, you need to think of ways to uplift other team members and help them bring to the best of their abilities. Plus, everyone has a unique talent. As a team player, you are expected to make the most use of your unique abilities. So, all of you come together and form a stronger team.


Gone are the days when awkward and shy gamers used to shine. This is the era of self-confident gamers. They ooze confidence while making quick decisions in split seconds and always come on top of their game. By just watching them play, you can notice how much confidence and trust they have in their game. Therefore, you need that self-confidence to become a pro gamer.


Focus on your immediate goals and objectives. If you can focus, you can be more attentive and bring your A-game to the play every time you sit down to have a go. This way you will be much closer to conquering the gaming world. An easy strategy to develop your focus is meditation. It helps your mind stay clear of the distractions and stay in the moment. Exactly what you need to become a professional player.

Decision Making

eSports is a highly competitive game. Being a pro player, you are expected to make decisions as quickly as possible. There’s always a clock ticking. Sometimes, you have split seconds to decide on a move that may win you a game or lose it entirely. Quick thinking and decision-making abilities don’t come in a day. It usually takes a considerable period of time.


Motivation is the most critical skill for any gamer. Your will to be successful at a game depends largely on your ability to motivate yourself in the short as well as long run. There will be times when you will win games without much effort. Then, there will be times when you will fail miserably no matter how hard you try. So, you will need all the motivation you have to push through those dark days.

Moreover, despite losing several games, you will need the motivation to come back stronger. It’s not easy to play the same game over and over again for 7 days a week. You should have the same excitement and love for the game as you had the first time you played that game.

Unlike what most people think, motivation is pretty easy to build. Think about why you want to do this, why you want to become a professional gamer, and what you can achieve by becoming one. Perhaps it’s for financial security. Perhaps you want to travel the world or make your gamer dad proud. Whatever your reason, you should have a clear vision of why you are doing this and go from there.

Mental Toughness

The gaming industry can be harsh sometimes. We often hear about players breaking down in the middle of a game or even during the preparation of a game. You need a tough mind to push through the hard days and keep playing. In addition, the competitive pressure also gets to the head – especially for those who are struggling to maintain their top position. Sponsors and fan expectations can also add to the pressure.


Dexterity is more of a physical attribute. It comes with physical training. As a pro gamer, you need the best hand-eye coordination you can get. Gaming involves a lot of typing and clicking. You should be able to do it as fast as you can by making as minimal errors as possible.

Personal Development

The road to becoming a pro gamer is a transformative one. You often hear the stories of how a gamer started in their basement spending hours in front of a screen. Instead of comparing yourself with others, focus on your own personal development. This way you can have a better and more positive gaming experience.

You need a majority of these skills to have a shot at pro gaming. Coaches often spot these skills very easily in up-and-coming players. This is because these skills reflect on your gaming performance. The more of these skills you have better will be your chances of getting a good salary package.

How Glamorous the Life of a Top Professional Gamer

Rise of eSports Gaming

Short answer? Much!

In the USA, usually, the companies sponsor entire teams to stay together in a mansion at some exotic location. Once there, each player has their own room, fully serviced by chefs, chauffeurs, and cleaners. So that they don’t have to think about anything else except gaming.

They get complete access to world-class medical facilities. Besides, physical trainers are available round the clock to ensure players are getting plenty of physical and mental training. So much so, that it is becoming one of the common complaints of pro gamers that they didn’t expect so much physical training.

Furthermore, before starting their tenure, players usually get a hefty paycheck as their signing bonus. It can be as high as 50K USD. This is why players often change their teams once their contract is over.

Another advantage is that they get pampered by their sponsors. They never run out of supplies or worry about equipment breakdown/shortage. That is why heaps of energy drinks and other computer gaming accessories are common sights in a pro gamer mansion.

No wonder why every kid these days wants to become a professional gamer. They want to build a career in a field that they know and love. Plus, they can have a lot of fun while making a good amount of money to maintain a luxury lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How much does a pro gamer make? 

Well, the earnings of a pro gamer depend on various factors. The standard for mid-to-high level professionals is $50K to $70K annually. Revenues from other sources like tournament win, sponsorships, streaming, etc., depending on a gamer’s popularity. 

How do eSports players and gamers make money? 

They make money by getting paid from their eSports teams, tournament wins, branding rights, sponsorships, streaming, and more. 

Who is the highest-paid pro gamer these days? 

Johan Sunstein, aka N0tail, is currently the highest-paid pro gamer. His net worth is approximately $9 million. His Youtube channel N0tail earns around $131K to $2.1K per month. 

Is eSports a good career path? 

Of course, it can be an excellent career path, although it can be a bit challenging. It focuses on a very narrow skill set. So, you should also consider that a particular game may not be around in the next few years.


Sure, top players earn thousands every year. But the reality is, that only a few reach that level of success – just like any other sports. Industry favors the winners only. If you want to aim for the top, there is no shortcut. You need to train as hard as you can and develop the skills mentioned above.

Most importantly, financial rewards start flowing once a professional team signs you up. So, as an up-and-coming professional gamer, you need to ensure that recruiters in the industry know you and your work. If they know you, they can see your gameplay and consider you for their teams.


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